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Care for your eyes today for better vision tomorrow

From morning to night, vision plays a vital role in life - from watching a movie with family, to picking out the perfect piece of fruit, to completing a presentation for work. Great value is placed on our sense of sight, so given the critical function eyes perform it would seem likely we’d give them the best care possible. Unfortunately, this is not often the case.

People take daily steps to safeguard against many common illnesses and diseases, but until they experience an eye problem, they may take their eyesight for granted.

“Your vision is likely to change as part of the natural aging process,” says Dr. Lynn Stanco, a Columbia St. Mary’s physician specializing in family medicine. “But, there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make change now to preserve your eyesight and possibly prevent future vision problems.”


Follow these tips to promote eye and vision health:

Nutrition: Another reason to watch what you eat
Eating well does more than just benefit your waistline; it promotes good eye health.  A diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, mangoes, papayas and many others, contain eye-friendly nutrients, which may help prevent vision problems.

Exercise: It can save your sight
Regular physical activity can support healthy vision by reducing your chances of developing many systemic diseases such as diabetes—one of the leading causes of vision loss. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and abdominal fat can all have a major impact on your eye health.

General Care: Be kind to your eyes
Take regular breaks while doing computer work or other eye-intensive tasks to give your eye muscles a rest. And, although dim light won’t harm your eyes, read in good light to avoid tiring your eyes quickly. Smoking is also harmful to your eye health and can contribute to the risk of developing a variety of eye conditions.

Protect Your Eyes: Wear proper eye gear
While regular plastic eyeglass lenses block most UV light, you may be able to add a UV-blocking treatment to for added safety. Some eyeglass lens materials already have 100 percent UV protection built-in.

Sunglasses are your eyes' only protective barriers against exposure to dangerous UV light, which can damage your eyes.  Be certain your shades protect against both UVA and UVB rays, and that you always wear them in conditions with reflection of light off water, sand or snow.

Safety glasses and goggles protect your eyes from injury due to accidents when you are playing sports, working in the yard or doing home improvement projects. Your ordinary glasses cannot provide all the protection your eyes need to keep them safe.

Exams: Visit your doctor
See your eye doctor—an ophthalmologist or an optometrist—regularly for an eye exam. According to the American Optometric Association, adults should have an eye exam every two years, and if you are over the age of 60, you should have one annually.

Dr. Stanco stresses, “If you experience a change in vision or other eye problem, don’t wait for the condition to improve. Have it checked out by an eye care professional who is best trained to identify serious vision problems at a stage early enough to treat.”

Visit Columbia St. Mary’s to find the right eye doctor for you.


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